Historic Structures

Municipal Building (City Hall/Court House), Minneapolis Minnesota

Date added: July 19, 2010 Categories: Minnesota Courthouse Richardsonian Romanesque

The Municipal Building was constructed between 1889 and 1905 from a design by the Minneapolis architectural firm of Long and Kees. The cost was $3,554,000 which was 28 cents a cubic foot. The architectural style is Richardsonian Romanesque. Construction is of pink Ortonville granite, and the building has two stately towers, one of which houses a chiming clock. The structure is characterized by massive surfaces, worked stone arches, extensive interior marble and stained glass. The original terra cotta roof was replaced by copper in 1950.

While the hallways of the building have largely been left untouched through the years, the office spaces have been renovated a number of times and their original character is no longer evident. The interior is "elastic", that is one where office arrangements can be changed at any time since, floors are supported independent of any partitions. It was the first of its kind In the United States according to a Minneapolis Tribune article of July 28, 1889.

The most impressive interior feature is the five story rotunda at the Fourth Street entrance. Stained glass lines one wall and the ceiling. In the center of the rotunda is the statue, "Mississippi - Father of Waters", by Larkin Mead, an American working in Florence, Italy. The marble statue was carved from the largest block of marble taken, up to that time, from the Carrara quarries in Italy and was presented to the City in 1906.

The Fourth Street Tower, 365 feet in height, houses the chiming clock with each of its four faces larger in diameter than that of "Big Ben" on London's Parliament Building. The tower also has a 15 bell carillon.